The Explorer Promise
On my honour, and with God’s grace, I promise to do my best to serve God, the Church, and my country, to help others at all times, and to obey the Explorer law.
La Promesa Explorador
Por mi honor y con la gracia de Dios, prometo servir a Dios, a la Iglesia, y a mi patria, ayudar a mi prójimo en cualquier circunstancia, y cumplir la ley explorador.
La Promesse Explorateur
Sur mon honneur, avec la grâce de Dieu, je m’engage à servir de mon mieux Dieu, l’Eglise, et ma patrie, à aider mon prochain en toutes circonstances, à observer la loi explorateur.
The Explorer Law
“The Scout’s law is sacred and the holy bible its perfume. The Scout’s law is our Lord Jesus’ law.”
—Fr. Jacques Sevin
1. An Explorer’s honour is to be trusted.
L’Explorateur met son honneur à mériter confiance.
“Honour” means a truthful conscience. “God is truth” and to utter or act a lie, or not to be open and straightforward in our dealings with others, is not only to fail in loyalty to God, but actually to mock Him. It is also often unjust to our neighbor, towards whom God has bidden us be not only just but kind. And as it is the part of a good Explorer to be loyal to God and kind and considerate to others, it follows then we he says a thing he means it, that his word is as good as his bond, and that in all he does he is absolutely “straight.”
2. An Explorer is loyal to his country, leaders, parents, and subordinates.
L’Explorateur est loyal à son pays, ses parents, ses chefs, et ses subordonnés.
This has been explained under the first part of the Promise. But remember that, because he is loyal to God, an Explorer is loyal all round:
- To the Catholic Faith which God has revealed.
- To the Holy See and those whom God has appointed to rule in spiritual things.
- To the authorities whom God has set to rule in temporal things.
- To parents in whose care God has placed him.
- To teachers and others who for the time take the place of parents.
- To employers and others who direct his work.
- To his friends who trust him.
- To his Chiefs, to his Officers, to his Troop, and his Patrol.
All these have a claim on your loyalty, and the right, each in his own degree, to your service. You must neither speak ill of them nor allow others to do so if you can hinder it; but on the contrary back them up in every way you can — except of course in anything which might offend God.
3. An Explorer is made to serve and save his neighbor.
L’Explorateur est fait pour servir et sauver son prochain.
That is plain Catholic teaching. You cannot be a follower of Christ unless you are willing to sacrifice yourself for others, and the motive must always be for our Lord’s own sake. He has told us that the good we do to others He will take as done to Himself. So you must try and see our Lord in every one, be they good or bad, and help them for His sake. The chance of doing this may come at any moment, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing; and therefore an Explorer must “be prepared,” first, by learning everything he can which can make him useful, and then by being always on the watch for the “good turn” which he can do. If you remember that it is our Lord Himself Who expects the help whatever it may be, you will run no risks of not being ready when you are wanted.
There is one “good turn” which you can do for anybody at any time, i.e. say a prayer for them. In this way you can give great help to many who need it, even if it is out of your power to be of use to them in any other way.
4. An Explorer is a friend to all and a brother to every other Explorer.
L’Explorateur est l’ami de tous et le frère de tout autre Explorateur.
This also is plain Catholic teaching. We must not despise the poor because they are poor, nor be envious of the rich because they are rich. Neither must we envy anyone more gifted than ourselves, nor look down on those less gifted than we are. We all go to Holy Communion together, and if our Lord comes to each one and does not pick out one rather than another, what right have we to come away from the Altar and make differences where He has made none? We are all brothers, created, redeemed, and fed by the same God Who is the Father of all — brothers of Jesus Christ. Even if another should injure us we must not treat him ill, but forgive him, remembering that God has forgiven us.
5. An Explorer is courteous and chivalrous.
L’Explorateur est courtois et chevaleresque.
“Courteous” really means to behave as they do who attend the King. Do not forget that you are always in attendance on the King of Kings, Whom you serve in the person of those who stand in need of the help that you can give. Treat them all, therefore, not only with politeness, but with respect. The greater their weakness or their necessity the more courteous you should be. An Explorer shows courtesy especially to the aged, to the afflicted, to women, girls, and little children. He respects Jesus Christ in each, and takes liberties with no one. He refuses “tips” because he knows that it is a privilege to serve the King of Kings; and besides, he looks for a better reward than that for being courteous and kind. When he does take money it is for real work and done to earn it. For a like reason he does not talk about the “good turns” he does; so that God is pleased, he wants praise from no one else.
6. An Explorer sees in nature God’s creations; he loves plants and animals.
L’Explorateur voit dans la nature l’œuvre de Dieu: il aime les plantes et les animaux.
Animals are put in our power by God, and He will require an account of our use of them. When necessary they may be killed for food, and it is not wrong to make them the objects of your sport — if it is a sport, and not mere cruelty. A sportsman gives his quarry a good chance of escape, and then tries to secure it by special skill. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether a certain thing is really sport or only cruelty, and then it is best to be on the safe side and leave it alone. Although animals cannot, strictly speaking, have any rights, God has the right to demand that we should use and not misuse them. To allow them to suffer without sufficient reason is wrong; and anyone who did so would show that he was cruel and thought lightly of the gifts of God. It is also wrong to go to the other extreme, and treat animals with more consideration than human beings, as some people do. Animals have no immortal souls and are not our brethren. But God has given them life and feeling; they are a trust put into our hands, and as such we must use them well.
7. An Explorer obeys proper orders and leaves nothing half-finished.
L’Explorateur obéit sans réplique et ne fait rien à moitié.
Obedience is the hardest to keep of all the laws, and the best. Our Lord sets us the example, having been obedient unto death. Obedience means discipline, because it means giving up self and our own will to do the will of God. We should obey, not because the command pleases us or because the one who gives it is a friend, but because God speaks to us by the voice of everyone who has the right to command. Whether we like the order and the person who gives it, or not, does not matter. If our obedience is real and not a sham, it is given for God’s sake, willingly. Disobedience brought death into the world; obedience brought our salvation. If we mean to gain the victory over ourselves, as every Christian is bound to do, we must first of all be obedient — to God before all, and then to those whom He has placed in authority.
8. An Explorer controls himself: he smiles and sings under all difficulties.
L’Explorateur est maître de soi: il sourit et chante dans ses difficultés.
Holy Scripture tells us that we should “serve the Lord with gladness.” This is so important that St. Francis of Sales did not hesitate to say that sadness often does us more harm than right-down big sins. In fact, not to be cheerful is to be mean with Almighty God, and to act as if we did not owe everything to Him and could not trust Him, or as if we grudged the obedience and the little sacrifices He asks of us. There is nothing more hateful than meanness.
Sometimes, it is true, things seem to us to go wrong very badly. But when this happens we must recollect three things: first, that we don’t know quite everything, but God does; second, that though there are lots of things we can’t do, God can do all things; third, that it is quite certain that He will make everything turn out for our happiness here and hereafter if we don’t stand in the way. There is no hold that we can get into so deep that prayer, a good try, and the help of God cannot get us out again. So, whatever the trouble is, pray, do what you can, trust God to do the rest — and keep smiling all the time. Other people have their troubles too; and if you are cheerful over yours you will help them to bear theirs, and so do them a very good turn indeed. There is only one thing that is really a good reason for being sad, and that is sin. But it is no reason at all for remaining sad or losing courage; God will readily forgive us if we are truly sorry, and a good Confession will enable us to make a fresh start and do better.
9. An Explorer is thrifty; he takes care of his own possessions and those of others.
L’Explorateur est économe et prend soin du bien d’autrui.
Thrift means not wasting things, especially money. You always want to “be prepared” — don’t depend on luck and don’t depend on others. Learn to find a good use for everything, and try to put a little money by. Thrift really is a kindness to other people, because it prevents us from being a burden to others and enables us to help those in need more generously. But of course it does not mean stinginess; to give freely to another’s need is to make the very best use of what God has given us.
10. An Explorer is clean in thought, word, and deed.
L’Explorateur est pur dans ses pensées, ses paroles, et ses actes.
This, to you, might go without saying — you have learned to hate and fear even the shadow of impurity, because nothing is more displeasing to God or more ruinous to soul and body. Only, it is well that it should be mentioned in the Explorer Law, because in this matter above all we have to “be prepared,” so as not to fall into one of the many traps the devil sets for us. We have to “be prepared”:
- For temptation; God lets it come to every one some time or another, and He does so in order to give us a chance of doing something really brave for Him by refusing to think, or say, or do, or even listen to anything wrong.
- For our own stupidity, which may draw us into danger before we know where we are.
- For our own weakness, which will certainly make us fall unless God supports us.
First, then, keep a bright look-out, as an Explorer should. You can’t avoid temptations altogether, but there is no need to blunder into them or to let others lead you into them. Don’t take any risks, but cut the matter short the moment you get a hint of danger. When you stand on the edge of a precipice it is only one step to the bottom.
Next, don’t think you are strong enough by yourself to resist. Don’t trust yourself, but trust entirely to Almighty God Who will never desert you if you ask for His help.
Lastly, “be prepared” by using the safeguards God has given you. These are: regular Confession, frequent, even daily Communion, devotion to our Blessed Lady, and prayer the moment you are tempted. It is also a help to lead, as Explorers should, a not too easy life. If we deny ourselves a bit in things like food and drink, and comfort and pleasures generally, it will be all the easier to keep clear of anything really wrong, because we shall have got a habit of self-control.
All quotations (with modifications) from The Catholic Scout’s Prayer Book, Catholic Truth Society (London), 1912.
Honour all Men. Love the Brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King.
(1 Peter 2:17)